Warring factions fail to resolve differences despite several attempts at a compromise

Tamil film producers have announced that they will be ready to work with members of any association other than Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) from April 7. FEFSI has called for a bandh on April 7. For quite a while now, fights, friction and chaos have taken over the Tamil film industry. It all started in January 2011, when the memorandum of understanding signed by FEFSI and the Tamil Film Producers Council expired.

Till now, it was only war of words between FEFSI and the Council. On different occasions, they attempted to compromise, but did not succeed. They went to the State Labour Welfare Board, but that did not help, either.  

Many in the industry are pessimistic about a resolution, as both sides refuse to budge from their stands. There is also another side to the story. Some say politics has made a back door-entry into the industry, and both sides expect the government to sort out the issue. A few others believe that if an industry stalwart intervenes, the stand-off may be resolved.

With hardly any cooperation from FEFSI, some of the top stars and directors have shifted their shooting spots to places outside Chennai. Directors Mani Ratnam and Bharathiraja, actors Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Ajith, Vishal and Vikram, have gone out of the city or even abroad, in some cases, to complete their films on time.

Even if a shoot is cancelled for a few days, daily wage workers are badly hit. As many as 23 associations and 23,000 workers are members of FEFSI. Big stars and directors do one or two films a year, but the small and medium budget producers are those who shoulder the industry as the exhibitors need to screen films week after week.

According to Tamil film historian ‘Film News' Anandan, in March, 19 films were released and six films were screened on a single day — March 30. None of these featured big stars. From January to March, 46 films were released. Unless both parties come up with a solution soon, the industry and lakhs of workers will continue to suffer.

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At WorkSeptember 24, 2010